In Spain’s Canary Islands, the first eruption in half a century of the Cumbre Vieja volcano began on Sept. 19. By mid-November, lava had swept over 2,500 acres (1,000 hectares), and ash covered one-tenth of the island of La Palma, including these homes, seen on Oct. 30, in the evacuation zone.
Remember when people thought it was the year? That 2020 was uniquely cursed, the worst year ever, that all would be resolved by January. Instead, 2021 has proved to be a fraught annum of unfinished transitions, half-kept promises, all torque and in-betweens. The world got moving again, yes, but not for very long and seldom together. From the U.S. to India, COVID-19 killed more people this year than last. Parts of the globe were held back by lack of access to a vaccine. Other parts (the richer parts) held themselves back by failing to access a shared reality.
And yet, seeing is still believing.
People may quarrel endlessly about why certain things happened—the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, for example—but that it, in fact, happened is as certain as the form of Officer Eugene Goodman in the corridor to the Senate chamber, right hand on his holstered pistol, left hand raised as he confronts the intruders, before leading them toward police.
The mottled, checkerboard of a year is one we can all witness in the 100 images TIME’s photo editors present here, unranked, as the best of 2021:
The Taliban walked into Kabul, then knelt in prayer.
Olivia Rodrigo teetered into the West Wing.
National Guardsmen slept in the Capitol.
The lights of a ferry shone like ice on the water off an island in flames.
And at an L.A. hospital, a woman named María Salinas Cruz shouted, “Fly high, my love!” in Spanish. She was loud enough to be heard through the glass door of the room where her husband, Felipe, who had contracted COVID-19 during the 2020 winter surge before vaccines became available, was being disconnected from a ventilator. An AC technician, he couldn’t work from home.
If the reality we all still share is the one captured in pixels, that consensus is precious, and worth guarding while we figure out how to talk to one another again. Organizations from Twitter to the BBC are joining initiatives to make transparent the provenance of the images and footage they publish.
Because what would we believe if we couldn’t believe our own eyes? What we want to believe, of course. And look where that’s got us. — Karl Vick
As the ventilator keeping her husband Felipe alive was disconnected, María Salinas Cruz shouted, “Fly high, my love!” in Spanish, loud enough to be heard through the glass at LAC+USC Medical Center in Los Angeles on Jan. 28. Felipe was admitted on Jan. 1, his 48th birthday, after contracting COVID-19. During the winter surge, Latino and Black Angelenos died at two to three times the rate of white residents.
Men try to extract water from inside Paliau village after a night of rainfall, which caused the water to surpass a dike, in Jonglei state, South Sudan, on Oct. 25. Across vast stretches of this remote region, thousands of people are crammed into dry patches of high ground, bound by stacks of sandbags. For the third consecutive year, the water level is at the edge, leaving precarious little margins of error for rain, or excess water flowing down the Nile from neighboring countries experiencing higher levels.
Lynsey Addario—National Geographic Society
On the Greek island of Evia, wildfires resulting from the country’s worst drought in three decades approach the home of Ritsopi Panayiota, 81, on Aug. 8.
Konstantinos Tsakalidis—Bloomberg/Getty Images
Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman confronts supporters of President Donald Trump who invaded the building on Jan. 6 to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 election win. On Washington’s darkest day since Sept. 11, 2001, Goodman steered an angry mob away from the Senate chamber toward police. Five people, including an officer, would die, and more than 140 officers would be injured.
Christopher Lee for TIME
After Myanmar’s military deposed an elected government, protesters launched the “Spring Revolution”—and, on March 16 in Yangon, this firebomb.
Jody Marquess, 43, looks at the recliner where his stepfather John Ramer died in Goodyear, Ariz., on June 17. It was Marquess’s birthday, but he was concerned about the 69-year-old, who eschewed air-conditioning. “He had tough-guy syndrome,” Marquess told TIME six days later, recalling a “stubborn” and “very frugal” but also “honest and simple” man. When Marquess stopped by on June 17—the high reached 118°F—he installed a portable AC unit for Ramer, who was sleeping. Two hours later, when he returned to drop off ice cream, Ramer was dead. From April through July, Maricopa County confirmed 47 heat-associated deaths, more than triple the figure confirmed by the end of the same period last year. Marquess had long wondered if this was how Ramer might die in Arizona: “I just didn’t think it was going to be this soon.”
Adam Ferguson for TIME
With a cease-fire in effect, a Palestinian girl stands in her destroyed home in Beit Hanoun, Gaza, on May 24. Twelve in Israel and more than 250 Palestinians were killed in the deadliest escalation in the conflict since 2014, as unguided rocket fire from Hamas, which governs the 2 million people in Gaza, was answered by Israeli air and artillery strikes. The battle erupted after Israeli authorities moved against Palestinians at sensitive sites inside Israel, including Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque.
Fatima Shbair—Getty Images
A palm tree damaged by Hurricane Ida in Galliano, La., on Aug. 31. More than a million people in New Orleans and beyond faced an immediate future without electricity during the summer heat after Ida, one of the most powerful hurricanes to ever make landfall in Louisiana, devastated the power infrastructure.
Luke Sharrett—Bloomberg/Getty Images
George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, visits a protest art installation on April 1. The tombstones bear the name of Black Americans lynched by private citizens, fatally shot, or choked by police officers or other victims who died in police custody. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on April 20 of murdering George Floyd—a historic moment for the racial justice movement in a nation where law enforcement officers are rarely found guilty of killing civilians. In June, Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison.
A U.S. Border Patrol agent grabs the shirt of a Haitian man while trying to stop migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border from crossing into Texas, on Sept. 19. Images of mounted agents chasing migrants and brandishing whiplike reins prompted the White House to label the scenes “horrific.” The Department of Homeland Security is investigating.
Paul Ratje—AFP/Getty Images
Lila Blanks weeps at the funeral of her husband, Gregory Blanks, 50, who died from COVID-19 complications, in San Felipe, Texas, on Jan. 26. "We need to all do what we need to do to get over it," she said. "So it'll be over and we don't keep burying our husbands, our children, our mothers, our fathers."
A young boy exits a U.S. Border Patrol bus as the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition prepares to receive migrants who have crossed the Rio Grande in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 22.
Brandon Bell—Getty Images
Tears run down the face of a demonstrator during a protest for Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man fatally shot by a white police officer during a traffic stop hours earlier on April 11 in Brooklyn Center, Minn. Kim Potter, who reportedly meant to use a Taser but fired her pistol, faces first- and second-degree manslaughter charges in a trial set to begin on Nov. 30.
Joshua Lott—The Washington Post/Getty Images
Vilma Iris Peraza, 28, from Honduras cries next to her two children, Adriana, 5, and Erick, 2, after finding out they were back in Mexico on March 18. They had just been escorted by U.S. border patrol agents to the middle of the Paso del Norte International Bridge in Ciudad Juarez. Peraza was planning to reunite with her husband, who had been living in Nashville for two years.
Daniel Berehulak—The New York Times/MAPS
Twenty-six people were killed after an overpass serving Mexico City’s subway collapsed on May 3, sending railcars plunging toward the pavement below.
Hector Vivas—Getty Images
Cynthia Shi and her boyfriend, Graham Bloomsmith, embrace outside Gold Spa near Acworth, Ga., on March 18. Two days earlier, a gunman killed eight people—including six women of Asian descent—and injured one person in shootings at three Atlanta-area massage businesses amid a spike in attacks on Asian Americans during the pandemic.
Chang W. Lee—The New York Times/Redux
Tashnuva Anan Shishir made history as Bangladesh's first transgender television news anchor by reading a three-minute news segment in Dhaka on March 8, International Women’s Day.
Munir Uz Zaman—AFP/Getty Images
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden watch fireworks with family members at the White House after the Inauguration in Washington, D.C, on Jan. 20.
Jim Watson—AFP/Getty Images
Members of the Badri 313 Battalion, a group of Taliban fighters, stand during evening prayers near Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Aug. 28.
Jim Huylebroek—The New York Times/Redux
People are evacuated on a ferry as a wildfire burns in the Greek village of Limni, on the island of Evia, on Aug. 6. With other escape routes blocked by flames, residents and tourists were urged to flee by boat.
This 11-min. time-lapse in March shows the final step of COVID-19 vaccine production: technicians at BioNTech’s Marburg complex filter the vaccine before pumping it into bulk packages ready for shipping to a filling and labeling facility elsewhere in Germany.
Luca Locatelli for TIME
Protesters climb on the statue of Simón Bolívar, the South American independence leader, as thousands of Colombians take to the streets to protest against the government's tax reform in Bogotá on May 1.
Andres Cardona—Reojo Colectivo
Sha’Carri Richardson won her 100m heat at the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Ore., on June 18; she also took the final but missed Tokyo after testing positive for THC.
Steph Chambers—Getty Images
People carry a man who was shot during a crackdown on anti-coup protesters on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar on March 14.
A volunteer performs CPR on a woman with breathing problems outside a Sikh temple during a surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths in Ghaziabad, India, on April 24.
Respiratory therapist Diane Gelpi administers oxygen to Carvase Perrilloux after he was taken off a ventilator at Children’s Hospital New Orleans on Aug. 20. The two-month-old, who arrived about a week earlier with respiratory syncytial virus and COVID-19, was finally ready to breathe without the ventilator keeping his tiny body alive. "You did it!" nurses in PPE cooed as they removed the tube from his airway and he took his first solo gasp, bare toes kicking.
Kathleen Flynn for TIME
In Teriberka, Russia, in April, a dog emerged from the dark and stood still for a few seconds under the northern lights before disappearing back into the tundra.
Nanna Heitmann—Magnum Photos
Armin Laschet, Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia and chancellor candidate, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel sing the national anthem during the end of the Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union campaign ahead of parliamentary elections in Munich on Sept. 24.
Ingmar Björn Nolting—laif/Redux
People charge their cell phones and warm up inside a vehicle in Austin, Texas, on Feb. 16. The area had been without power since early the day before. Huge winter storms plunged large parts of the central and southern United States into an energy crisis as frigid blasts of Arctic weather crippled electric grids and left millions of Americans without power amid dangerously cold temperatures.
Tamir Kalifa—The New York Times/Redux
Andrew Lloyd Webber takes to the DJ booth after the reopening night of "The Phantom of the Opera," the longest-running show in Broadway history, in New York on Oct. 22.
OK McCausland—The New York Times/Redux
A mob breaches the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6. The attack two weeks before the end of President Donald Trump's term resulted in his second impeachment, a week later, by the House for "incitement of insurrection."
Victor J. Blue—Bloomberg/Getty Images
Michael van der Veen and others on Donald Trump's legal team celebrate after the former President, who a month earlier was impeached for a second time, was acquitted in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 13.
Gabriella Demczuk for TIME
Savitri Vasava, 23, lives in Dakor, Gujarat, India, and is the mother of a 3-year-old. In February, she said she planned to become a surrogate after seeing her sister-in-law build a house from the money she made from surrogacy.
Smita Sharma for TIME
Protesters and counterprotesters meet outside of the Supreme Court at the Women's March and Rally for Abortion Justice in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 2. With counterprotesters situated closer to the building, a security officer stands in between the groups.
Elizabeth Bick for TIME
Beginning in November 2020, hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered at sites surrounding the Indian capital to demand the repeal of agricultural laws passed two months earlier by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government. Kiranjit Kaur, far left, came to the Tikri protest site from Talwandi, Punjab, on Feb. 23 with a group of 20 women, including her mother-in-law and children. “It is important for all women to come here and mark their presence in this movement," she said. "I have two daughters, and I want them to grow up into the strong women they see here.” A year after protests started, Modi pledged the laws would be repealed.
Kanishka Sonthalia for TIME
Members of Team Netherlands run from sprinklers ahead of a field hockey match against Germany that determined the Pool A winner at the Tokyo Olympics on July 31. Netherlands won 3-1.
Steph Chambers—Getty Images
Supporters of Britney Spears gather outside an L.A. courthouse on Nov. 12 where a judge that day ended the conservatorship that denied her control of her health and finances for 13 years.
Chloe Pang—The New York Times/Redux
An injured resident of Togoga arrives to a hospital in Mekele on June 23, a day after a deadly airstrike on a market in Ethiopia's war-torn northern Tigray region.
Yasuyoshi Chiba—AFP/Getty Images
Musicians join pianist, composer and conductor José Agustín Sánchez on a truck bed for a "musical disinfection" in Barquisimeto, northwestern Venezuela, on March 4. Sanchez, who last year started playing what he calls his "Musical Vaccine" for COVID-19 patients, is now accompanied by other musicians as they ride through the city playing his original compositions for anybody who wants to listen.
Valerie Zeller, 52, cries during her first-ever wedding dress fitting by the side of her tent in Echo Park Lake, in Los Angeles, on March 13. A seamstress donated a dress and assisted with a fitting a week before the wedding to be sure the alterations would be ready for Zeller's special day. Days after the March 20 wedding, the unhoused community of Echo Park Lake was evicted.
Barbara Davidson—Getty Images
When the Taliban swept into Kabul on Aug. 15, a U.S.-directed evacuation intended to prioritize Americans and vulnerable Afghan allies morphed into bedlam. The crush of hopefuls outside the airport, shown on Aug. 23, became so overpowering that most of the 124,000 people plucked from the Taliban’s grasp weren’t vetted before takeoff, the U.S. admitted in September. Those checks occurred upon landing in transit nations. By month’s end—in the wake of an Aug. 26 suicide bombing that killed more than 170 Afghans and 13 U.S. military personnel—America concluded its so-called “Forever War” much the way it began: with the Taliban in power.
Marcus Yam—Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Congressional lawmakers, city mayors, union workers, tribal leaders and civil rights activists gather on the South Lawn of the White House on Nov. 15 after President Joe Biden signed into law roughly $1 trillion in infrastructure investments. The bipartisan deal includes $110 billion for roads and bridges, $66 billion for railroads, and $55 billion for cleaner drinking water and replacing lead pipes. Biden called it "proof that despite the cynics, Democrats and Republicans can come together and deliver results ... Let's remember this day."
A visitor takes a moment at the gravesite of Ahmaud Arbery in Waynesboro, Ga., on Feb. 23. Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was out jogging on the outskirts of Brunswick, Ga., a year earlier. Three white men are on trial for his murder.
Sean Rayford—Getty Images
A member of the Afghan special forces during a combat mission against the Taliban in Kandahar province on July 11. Days later, the photographer was killed in a clash between Afghan security forces and the Taliban.
Palestinian children hold candles during a rally amid the ruins of houses destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in Beit Lahia, Gaza, on May 25. A fragile cease-fire between Israel and Hamas brought an end to 11 days of fighting.
Fatima Shbair—Getty Images
Rescuers search for flood victims at night in the village of Dernau, Germany, on July 15. “The German language has no words, I think, for the devastation,” Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters as she surveyed the damage in the region.
Items recovered outside Sayed Ul-Shuhada high school in Kabul are laid out on May 8 so families can identify and collect them after a deadly bombing that afternoon targeted teenage girls leaving class.
Kiana Hayeri—The New York Times/Redux
Law school graduates of Suffolk University are seated on socially distanced folding chairs as members of the class of 2020 celebrate their long-awaited graduation at Fenway Park in Boston on May 23.
Jessica Rinaldi—The Boston Globe/Getty Images
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont sits crossed-legged on a socially distanced folding chair before Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th U.S. President in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20. The photograph became an instant meme. As one Twitter user wrote: "This could've been an email."
Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images
State Rep. Park Cannon, D-Atlanta, is placed in the back of a patrol car after being arrested on March 25. Cannon was detained after knocking on the door of Gov. Brian Kemp's office during his remarks about a Republican-backed overhaul of state elections that includes voting restrictions.
Alyssa Pointer—Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP
Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, practices his tree pose with a yoga class during a visit to New Jersey on Oct. 19.
Landon Nordeman for TIME
A fisherman feeds whale sharks in the waters around Tan-Awan, a small town in Cebu Province in the Philippines, in September. The chance to swim with the world's biggest fish draws tourists, but conservation groups denounce the hand-feeding that keeps the gentle creatures around.
Hannah Reyes Morales—The New York Times/Redux
Benjamin Netanyahu takes a look at the empty seats as members of the Knesset, Israel's Parliament, step out for a break in Jerusalem on June 13, before returning to cast their vote of confidence to empower the new coalition government and unseat him as the country's longest-serving prime minister.
Marcus Yam—Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman closes her eyes on Sept. 15 as fellow gymnast Maggie Nichols delivers her testimony during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., about the Inspector General's report on the FBI handling of the Larry Nassar investigation. Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics doctor, is now serving decades in prison on sexual abuse charges and federal child pornography offenses.
Anna Moneymaker—Getty Images
Following an inflammatory speech by President Trump on Jan. 6, protesters objecting to the certification of Joe Biden's election win by Congress that day storm the Capitol.
Peter van Agtmael—Magnum Photos for TIME
As Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill reads the final guilty verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, George Floyd's family, close friends and advisers who gathered in Minneapolis on April 20 to watch the verdict in semi-private transition from cries to cheers. From left in front row: the Rev. Al Sharpton; Brandon Williams, a nephew who Floyd thought of like a son; Williams' longtime girlfriend Tiffany Hall, who knew Floyd for 16 years; and Rachel Noerdlinger, in the red coat, who works with Sharpton's National Action Network.
Ruddy Roye for TIME
Marine One, carrying President Joe Biden, flies over the "In America: Remember" installation on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 20. The installation—a concept by artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg that commemorates Americans who have died after contracting COVID-19—includes the planting of more than 660,000 small white flags, some with personal messages, across 20 acres. In late November, total U.S. deaths during the pandemic rose to more than 769,000.
Kent Nishimura—Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Drug users detained during a Taliban raid walk in line on their way to the detoxification ward of the Avicenna Medical Hospital for Drug Treatment in Kabul on Oct. 2. Now the uncontested rulers of Afghanistan, the Taliban have set their sights on stamping out the scourge of narcotics addiction, even if by force.
Sprinters at the Tokyo Olympics, backdropped by empty seats at the stadium in this overexposed image, are introduced before the men's 100m final on Aug. 1.
Jae C. Hong—AP
Queen Elizabeth II takes her seat during the funeral of Prince Philip at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on April 17. Her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, died on April 9, months short of his 100th birthday.
Jonathan Brady—WPA Pool/Getty Images
Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece plays a backhand in his match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during the Men's Singles Final match of the French Open in Paris on June 13. Djokovic won the final in five sets.
Julian Finney—Getty Images
A polar bear nestles among the rocks of Bird Cove on the rugged coastline of Churchill, Manitoba, on Oct. 29. The Canadian town, situated in the south of the Arctic, has long billed itself as the polar-bear capital of the world. But warming temperatures have brought a sharp decline in bear numbers; without them, Carlene Spence, a cook at the Lazy Bear Lodge, told the New York Times, “we don’t make money.”
Damon Winter—The New York Times/Redux
Small spots of light indicate who can still afford to pay for private electricity generation in the Bab al-Tabaneh neighborhood of Tripoli, Lebanon, on July 8. A financial collapse that could rank among the world's worst since the mid-1800s is closing like a vise on Lebanon's middle class, whose money has plummeted in value as the cost of nearly everything has skyrocketed.
Bryan Denton—The New York Times/Redux
Journalists from the Etilaatroz newspaper, Nemat Naqdi, 28, left and Taqi Daryabi, 22, undress to show their wounds after they were arrested, tortured and beaten by Taliban fighters for reporting on a women's rights protest, in Kabul on Sept. 8.
Marcus Yam—Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Palestinians and Israeli security forces clash at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City on May 10, the latest in a series of confrontations.
Search-and-rescue personnel work in the rubble of the 12-story condo tower that partially collapsed in Surfside, Fla., a suburb of Miami, on June 24. Ninety-eight people died.
Joe Raedle—Getty Images
Officers draw their weapons in the House Chamber during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of President Trump's supporters.
Drew Angerer—Getty Images
An empty stretcher stands in a kitchen as a funeral home worker prepares to transport the body of a 54-year-old woman who died from COVID-19 in her bed at home in Houston on Sept. 13. The woman's daughter said her mother had not been vaccinated, citing fears over its safty.
John Moore—Getty Images
Seventeen people from Tunisia aboard a wooden boat wait for assistance in international waters near the Italian island of Lampedusa on July 25.
A field of flags on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 19, one day before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. The public art display featured nearly 200,000 flags, representing Americans who would have gathered for the inauguration, according to the organizing committee.
Philip Montgomery for TIME
Russian security personnel and others push the press out ahead of a June 16 meeting in Geneva between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Joining the leaders are U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right.
Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny appears via video conference for a Moscow court hearing on Jan. 28, during which he was ordered to remain imprisoned after his arrival back in Russia from Germany, where he had been recuperating following a poisoning that nearly killed him. Navalny—who in February was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison—has become a rallying figure for many Russians with grievances about Vladimir Putin’s 20-year reign.
Sergey Ponomarev—The New York Times/Redux
Orphaned mountain gorilla Ndakasi lies in the arms of her caregiver, Andre Bauma, in Rumangabo, Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on Sept. 21, days before she died of a prolonged illness. In 2007, when Ndakasi was just two months old, she was found clinging to the body of her slain mother. "Bauma was called in to try to keep her alive through the night, although no one thought she would make it," the park said in a statement. "Through a torrential rain storm that lasted all night, Andre held baby Ndakasi tightly to his bare chest to keep her warm and give her comfort. Miraculously, she made it through." Bauma and others at the Senkwekwe Center, the world's only facility caring for orphaned mountain gorillas, mourned her loss. "It was Ndakasi’s sweet nature and intelligence that helped me to understand the connection between humans and Great Apes and why we should do everything in our power to protect them," Bauma said. "I loved her like a child and her cheerful personality brought a smile to my face every time I interacted with her."
Brent Stirton—Getty Images
Rows of holes are seen at a mass grave on the eight-acre Harouda family farm in Tarhuna, Libya, on March 24. Hundreds were killed in recent years by a militia that used the town as a staging ground to assist in an ultimately failed offensive to gain control of Tripoli.
Nada Harib—Getty Images
Members of the National Guard rest in the Capitol during a break in shifts as the House of Representatives prepares to vote on impeaching President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 13. Trump was impeached a historic second time, one week before the end of his presidency.
Erin Schaff—The New York Times/Redux
Ethiopian National Defense Forces soldiers are held at a remote mountain detention camp for an estimated 3,000 prisoners of war south of Mekele on June 23, after being captured during fighting the prior week by Tigray Defense Forces rebels. Most of the captured soldiers had their boots confiscated.
Defense attorney Mark Richards asks Kenosha Police Detective Ben Antaramian to show him Kyle Rittenhouse's rifle and bullets before court begins on Nov. 9. Rittenhouse shot three people, killing two of them, during a night of unrest that erupted in Kenosha after a police officer shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, seven times in the back while police attempted to arrest him in August 2020. Rittenhouse, from Illinois, was 17 at the time of the shooting and armed with an assault rifle. Rittenhouse was acquitted on all counts in November.
Mark Hertzberg—Pool/Getty Images
A cardboard cutout of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, dressed as the QAnon Shaman, along with other cutouts of people involved in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, stand on the National Mall ahead of a House committee hearing on social media and extremism on March 25.
Caroline Brehman—CQ-Roll Call, Inc./Getty Images
Pop star Olivia Rodrigo arrives at the White House to promote the COVID-19 vaccine and the Biden administration's vaccination efforts in Washington, D.C., on July 14.
A boy feeds his pigs in St. Joe, Ark., on Feb. 15. An unusually wide band of frigid air over the center of the country spread dangerous ice and snow in many areas that rarely see such weather.
Terra Fondriest—The New York Times/Redux
From left: Henry Bergey, Lars Sorom, Clay Lancaster, and Storm Hedman sit in pop-up tents during wind ensemble class at Wenatchee High School in Wenatchee, Wash., on Feb. 26. The school has been using pop-up tents as COVID-19 enclosures for its music programs as students return to classrooms.
David Ryder—Getty Images
Police detain Patsy Stevenson, a 28-year-old student, as people gather at a memorial site in Clapham Common, following the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard, in London on March 13. A serving officer with London's Metropolitan Police was charged with Everard’s kidnap and murder.
Choir students stand during a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party in Beijing's Tiananmen Square on July 1.
Kevin Frayer—Getty Images
President Joe Biden closes his eyes during the dignified transfer of the remains of American service members, who were killed in a suicide bombing days earlier in Kabul, at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Aug. 29.
Dana Campbell plays "You Are My Sunshine" on the harmonica before being vaccinated in his home in Elkview, W.Va., on June 4.
Rebecca Kiger for TIME
By correctly spelling murraya, a genus of tropical Asiatic and Australian trees, Zaila Avant-garde won the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Orlando on July 8. Two years after entering the world of competitive spelling, the 14-year-old from Harvey, La., made history as the first Black American to win the contest (and the $50,000 that came with it).
Scott McIntyre—The New York Times/Redux
Anti-government protesters set off firecrackers near riot police during a Sept. 5 demonstration in Bangkok calling for the resignation of Thailand's prime minister over the government's coronavirus response.
Lillian Suwanrumpha—AFP/Getty Images
A child cries while waiting for rice being distributed to residents in Les Cayes, Haiti, on Aug. 16, days after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck the southwestern part of the hemisphere's poorest nation, killing more than 2,200 people.
A person sleeps on empty oxygen cylinders while waiting to refill them on the outskirts of Lima on Feb. 25. Relatives of COVID-19 patients were desperate for oxygen to keep their loved ones alive during a fierce second wave of the pandemic in Peru.
Ernesto Benavides—AFP/Getty Images
An aerial view shows debris engulfing buildings in Bushara village, near Goma, on May 23, after a volcanic eruption of Mount Nyiragongo that sent thousands of residents fleeing during the night in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The river of boiling lava came to a halt outside the city of Goma.
Justin Katumwa—AFP/Getty Images
At a crematorium in New Delhi on April 27, Shivam Verma, in white PPE, is helped by relatives while carrying the body of his sister-in-law Bharti, 48, who died of COVID-19.
Saumya Khandelwal for TIME
Families, mostly from Haiti, make one of dozens of river crossings on the first day of their trek through the Darién Gap in Colombia on Oct. 18. The 66-mile passage through dense rainforest and mountains is considered the most difficult stretch for migrants traveling from South America to the United States.
John Moore—Getty Images
A man from Homs, Syria, is supported by a volunteer in Ocalenie Foundation, an organization that supports refugees, after being found hours earlier close to Orla, Poland, near the border with Belarus, on Nov. 14. The man and his brother, who spent at least four days in the forest, were transported to a hospital.
Protesters confront law enforcement officers in Brooklyn Center, Minn., on April 12, one day after 20-year-old Black man Daunte Wright was killed during a traffic stop.
Joshua Rashaad McFadden—The New York Times/Redux
Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, wave after the inauguration in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20. Harris made history as the first female, first Black and first Asian American to assume the country's second-highest office.
Melina Mara—Pool/The Washington Post/Shutterstock
Yoshia Uomoto, 98, reacts as her son, Mark Uomoto, and niece, Gail Yamada, surprise her with their first in-person visit in a year after indoor visitation restrictions due to the pandemic were lifted at Nikkei Manor, an assisted living facility in Seattle, on March 30. Residents, who have all been fully vaccinated, could visit with family for an hour at a time.
Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., comforts Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., while taking cover during the attack at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Tom Williams—CQ-Roll Call, Inc./Getty Images
In San Antonio, Texas, on Aug. 26, the sunroom in the two-story brick home of Sergeant First Class Javier Jaguar Gutierrez's parents is decorated with remembrances of their fallen son, an American service member who was killed in February 2020 by an Afghan soldier just weeks before a peace deal was signed between the U.S. and the Taliban. He was one of the last U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan.